Voice. All readers (and literary agents) want to find the next great one, and all writers want to know what the heck it is. If voice were easy to define, then we wouldn’t have dozens of articles, books and classes to demystify the concept.
Today, I’ll put in my two cents and see if I can help some light bulbs go off.
Voice is—in its essence—that uniqueness that we as artists bring to the story. Remember, humans relied on an oral tradition for tens of thousands of years. We are a story people. Voice, in my opinion, is a holdover from that oral tradition.
Ah, but the original storytellers were not only the precursors of the modern writer, they were also the precursor to the modern actor.
I can imagine the one dude in the cave who used the most dramatic gestures and movements, who had the best inflection at just the right time when he told the story. He probably had the largest audiences…the ones who tipped the most.
I don’t care what anyone says, storytellers—WE—are the oldest profession.